Becoming a nurse is about a lot more than just having the right qualifications. New nurses face the uphill battle of adjusting to their work environment while still tirelessly tending to patients and long-term care residents. On top of that, they must learn to resolve conflicts and appease staff members with competing interests. This is where management training for nurses can help.
With all the challenges new nurses face, such as staffing shortages leading to burnout at unprecedented rates, management training for nurses is essential in assisting nurses in avoiding frustration, which can lead to verbal—and even physical—conflict.
Long-term care leaders continue to strive to adapt and keep everyone level-headed and amicable. But they are stretched too thin to oversee every level of management. That is why they must turn to nurses to help manage resident care.
In addition to caring for residents, nursing responsibilities include the following:
- Managing three to four CNAs per shift
- Ensuring the CNAs pass out resident trays, answer call lights, report changes in resident conditions, and put all safety interventions in place
- Checking to see that CNAs complete their task list by the end of each shift
Unfortunately, as things stand, management training for nurses primarily occurs situationally; there is little invested in this crucial component of delivering care. It is only when nurses move up the career ladder that they assume more responsibility and begin to embrace their roles as managers despite their insufficient training.
To help you make better leaders out of your staff, we will provide management training techniques that nurse managers can adopt to fill in the gaps in leadership training and accelerate their paths to becoming confident leaders.
The Need for Greater Nurse Management Training
Nurses are primarily trained to care for patients. The problem is that, in reality, being a nurse comes with many unspoken responsibilities, like managing other junior staff and resolving unforeseen conflicts. The heart of the issue is that these nurses do not always receive nurse management training on how to get others to listen to them.
Like other healthcare providers, there is a clear chain of command in a long-term care facility. Even a newly qualified nurse (one-year level) will have to manage several aides or CNAs (Certified Nursing Assistants) who will report directly to them.
This means that it is the responsibility of the new nurse, not the CNAs, to ensure care is administered, even if the former is far younger and did not undergo any management training for nurses. That is quite the challenge for one fresh out of nursing school, especially if they have not received practical tips for new nurses on how to navigate their new workplace.
Nurse management training is important because it helps nurses learn how to navigate their new workplace and teaches them essential management and leadership skills. In addition, management training for nurses can help reduce the number of conflicts that arise in the workplace.
According to a recent study, out of the 303 respondents, only 26 percent felt adequately trained to manage conflict and resolve disputes in the workplace, with 59 percent believing they need more conflict training in a healthcare setting.
Furthermore, management training can help nurses feel more confident in their abilities to lead and manage other staff members. We will discuss some of the types of training facility users can implement for their nurses below
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The Five Types of Management and Leadership Training for Nurses
Most management and leadership training for nurses happens on the floor, but several other time-tested strategies have proven effective, especially when paired with real-life training. Let us take a look at the various management training for nurses programs regularly used in facilities today:
1. On-the-Job Training
Newly qualified nurses naturally gain real-life working experience on the floor, interacting, and working on their communication skills with CNAs and other staff members. One of the most important skills a floor nurse will learn is the ability to manage CNAs and aides. To do so, a floor nurse must communicate effectively, consistently, and appropriately to ensure that protocols are followed and necessary tasks are completed.
A new nurse will need to learn to ensure that:
- The night shift team cleans equipment, stocks supplies, and medications, and updates the 24-hour report before the day shift
- Residents are adequately bathed on schedule
- Residents who have requested meals in their rooms are properly fed
- Residents are dressed in fresh clothes and up and out of bed each day
- A staff member is designated for transportation and follows a predetermined schedule
- MAR and TAR sheets are printed before residents meet with physicians
That is a lot. So they will initially need to lean on both supervisors and the unofficial leaders of the facility or, the experienced nurses and CNAs who know how the system works. By developing a personal relationship with them during coffee breaks or lunch, the new nurse manager will learn about the small things and how best to approach certain residents and staff members.
It is important for a new nurse manager to also remain humble during this on-the-job training and listen to other team members until the new nurse has gained comfort in his or her new setting. If one gives the impression that their formal education in nursing means they naturally understand more about how to care for residents, they will quickly create friction with coworkers.
2. HR Training
Any member of a skilled nursing facility in the position of managing others will need to be trained on the legal consequences of the following:
- Unfair dismissal or contract termination
- Terms and conditions behind unemployment and canceled shifts
- Equal employment opportunity, affirmative action, and workforce diversity
- Shift changes and overtime pay
- Staffing and workforce development
- Resident safety
- Compliance with federal and state regulations
- Workplace culture, accountability and fairness, and understanding cultural differences
- Compensation and benefits
- Labor relations, such as union contract negotiation and administration
- Organizational and staff training and development
3. Digital Training Courses
In regards to nursing management courses, online training courses potentially provide nurses with a solid foundation and understanding of what it takes to be a good leader. These courses are usually funded by an outside organization and then presented to the nurse to study independently. By enrolling nurses in these courses, the facility not only ends up with more refined leaders but also demonstrates that it cares about the professional growth of its employees.
Prominent courses on management training for nurses include the following:
- Developing the Leader Within—This program teaches essential leadership development skills. It primarily focuses on influencing practice rather than relying upon positional authority. It is taught by experienced nurse leaders who use an interactive program that combines lectures, discussions, reflective practice, experiential learning, and self-assessment.
- Emerging Nurse Leader Institute—This program prepares nurses for leadership responsibilities. It is a two-day, interactive program taught by faculty experts who combine lectures, discussions, reflective practice, experiential learning, and self-assessments. This is specifically designed for nurses who are not in a management position but aspire to be.
- Virtual Nurse Manager Institute—This three-day virtual nurse management training program is designed to help current nurse managers gain the critical management tools necessary for career progression. It focuses on management, budgeting, understanding and handling conflicts, and negotiating.
- Personal Resilience for Leaders: Strategies to Combat Nursing Burnout—Learning to be resilient will benefit a nurse’s emotional well-being and help them recognize burnout symptoms in others. This virtual program centers around small-group learning and coaching with guided professional insights and practical tools that nurses can use while on the facility floor.
- Diploma in Nursing Leadership and Care Management—This is a free online course that gives nurses the necessary tools, skills, techniques, and approaches required to effectively treat a diverse range of patients. The enrolled students will learn to address common scenarios that are associated with different cultures and gain transcultural nursing skills that can be applied on the facility floor.
- Long-term Care Management—This part-time online program lasts between three to twelve months. It is designed for nurses aspiring to move into leadership positions and focuses on key concepts, such as learning about the particular nature of the long-term care industry, legal considerations, and residents’ rights. Students enrolled in this course will study how to apply theoretical concepts that provide a high quality of care while earning an industry-specific education to position themselves for future career advancement.
- Nursing Leadership and Management CEU Courses—This program focuses on nursing leadership and management activities. It combines managerial, leadership, and administrative skills with patient care. Students will learn to coordinate schedules, manage budgets, and handle team conflict. Some professional goals in this management course include facilitating teamwork, effective management of the workplace environment, and team delegation and evaluation, all skills that a nurse manager will need daily.
4. Educational Leadership Books
Mentors should share books on team-building, motivation, and leadership skills with new nurses. This is a more practical form of education than the formal requirements of a nursing degree. Nurses can turn theory into practice by utilizing the best ideas that they read to better meet the demands on the floor. Some useful leadership books include the following:
- Who Moved My Cheese: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and Your Life—This book offers insight into how to anticipate change, a skill that is particularly useful for nurses who need to learn to adapt quickly, enjoy the change, and be ready for more responsibilities in their new role. It also touches on managing stress so that they can enjoy more success in their new role of managing others.
- Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t—This book explains how some companies triumph over time to sustain long-term performance. It takes the reader on a journey to internalize and assess whether or not they are the problem. This book is particularly useful for nurse managers because it focuses on accountability. The reality is that on the floor, whether the outcomes are good or bad, the leader is responsible. In reading this book, nurse managers will come across realistic situations and potential solutions that they can apply on the floor.
- The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts—Managing relationships between staff and residents is a big part of nursing. This book explores the complexities of relationships, how various sides need to adapt their communication with people, and what actionable steps can be taken to improve relationships.
- Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us—Finding motivation in a facility involves understanding basic human needs and how they directly impact our lives. This book can be used by nurses to think about how they can become more comfortable in their new role, consequently performing at a higher level while taking pride and satisfaction in their work.
- Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts—Successful leadership is not about status or power but rather about taking responsibility, recognizing the potential in people, and helping them to develop professionally. This book offers guidance for having difficult conversations and understanding what it means to manage others and lead by example while focusing on empathy and developing the courage to speak out in challenging situations.
- Start With Why: The Inspiring Million-Copy Bestseller That Will Help You Find Your Purpose—The first step to successful leadership is understanding the why. Only then will nurses be able to encourage and inspire CNAs, aides, and other nurses to provide the best possible care. This book focuses on how leaders should think, act, and communicate to have the greatest influence while inspiring others and giving them more purpose on the facility floor.
5. Leadership Groups
Several de facto nursing leadership groups provide useful resources, like NADONNA, which offers an online Nurse Leader Certification Prep and Training course that explores how nurses should communicate, manage their responsibilities, and adopt staffing models in accordance with budgets.
Another great option is furthering one’s education through community college courses designed to help students hone their leadership skills. Typically these programs are not specific to nursing leadership, as the curriculum is usually broader and covers different skill-building methods with the primary goal of helping students to achieve further success and personal development. Still, nurses will easily figure out how to apply the lessons learned in their own environments.
Some recommended community college leadership courses include the following:
- Organizational Leadership—The curriculum combines contemporary leadership theories with leadership best practices, allowing nurses to develop strong decision-making, problem-solving, creative thinking, and strategy skills needed while working in the long-term care industry.
- Leadership and Professional Development Training—These in-person training sessions focus on leadership training, such as conflict management, difficult and crucial conversations at work, influential leadership, and team building. Additionally, nurse managers can also gain training in professional development, such as how to effectively communicate, listen, and handle conflict, stress management, and problem-solving.
- Leadership Academy for Frontline Employees—This six-part module program builds leadership skills for frontline employees like nurses who want to progress toward a leadership position. The program shares new peer leadership approaches that can be applied on the facility floor, giving nurse managers the confidence and skills to take charge and lead their coworkers. Some of the modules covered in the program include “How to Work as a High-Performing Team,” Behavioral-Based Safety,” Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving,” and “Valuing Peers’ Differences.”
Why Long-term Care Facilities Should Invest in Management Training for Nurses
Management training for nurses is essential for all healthcare facilities, but it is especially important in long-term care, where nurses are overwhelmed with important tasks. Facilities must prioritize nurse leadership and development because, ultimately, the nurse leaders will set the tone for the rest of the staff.
As positive role models for other staff members, nurse managers are critical in integrating and inspiring team members to work together in providing high-quality care. They are also the party responsible for holding caregivers accountable for their actions. In this way, nurse managers directly impact resident outcomes, the workplace culture, and standards while fostering a strong work ethic and team spirit.